Ben continues his series of occasional case studies which highlight the common (and not so common) conditions he encounters at The Back Room Chiropractic Clinic.
‘A university student in his early 20’s recently came to see me at the clinic. He was suffering with discomfort in his thoraco-lumbar region (mid to lower back). I took a thorough history which did not reveal any traumatic trigger to account for his symptoms. On further questioning I learned that the likely cause of his problem was playing computer games. He had invested in a gaming chair, but was playing games on his console for up to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, often continuously. He admitted to taking very little physical exercise.
Physical examination showed no evidence of neurological or orthopaedic deficit. I did note some stiffness in the intervertebral motion of four of his vertebrae. We discussed the findings and agreed on a course of treatment designed to reduce the joint stiffness. This therapy has helped to relieve the symptoms but he is likely to have recurrence if he does not make lifestyle changes. I have discussed with the patient the need to try and curb his gaming time in the hope of breaking the cycle of ongoing pain. I have also explained that the most fundamentally important therapy would be to take regular exercise to aid muscle strength and suppleness, and to provide spinal support. We agreed upon a long term plan of regular, routine chiropractic treatment based around spinal manipulative therapy, and the introduction of mid dorsal (back) strengthening and stretching exercise for the anterior chest’.
There has long been a concern about the effect that long spells of playing video games can have on physical, mental and psychological well being of some younger people. In this case, we saw how gaming can have physical effects. It’s not all bad news, some studies show that gaming can improve cognitive function!

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